Things That Matter

Trump Administration Calls For Asylum Seekers To Pay Processing Fees For Paperwork That Have Never Had Fees

President Trump and his administration have introduced a new set of regulations that will surely discourage some asylum seekers from coming to the United States. The new regulations include charging a fee for asylum applications and delaying the approval of work permits. The proposal comes as the Trump administration continues to slow down the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross into the U.S. The changes will surely make it more difficult for asylum seekers to apply and stay in the U.S. as they wait for their case to be heard.

The reality of the situation is many asylum seekers won’t be able to afford these new proposed application fees.

President Trump is giving Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan 90 days come up with new regulations to speed up the processing of asylum claims. This will include directing officials to begin charging a fee to process asylum and employment authorization applications, which currently do not require payment.

While there are still questions about the amount that applicants might have to pay, it’s unclear how many families, who are fleeing poverty, would be able to afford these fees. While the report says the price would not exceed the cost of processing applications, officials did not provide an estimate for that amount.

For comparison, the application fee for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is $495, the fee for green card holders to file for U.S. citizenship is $725, and the fee to apply for a green card can go as high as $1,225, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Among other regulations, the Trump administration is also making it harder to get work permits for some asylum seekers.

Under current federal laws, an asylum seeker can apply for a work permit five months (150 days) after submitting their asylum application. The Trump administration wants to change that regulation.

Under the new proposal, asylum seekers can be denied work permits if they entered or tried to enter the country illegally. They are also calling on officials to immediately revoke work authorizations when people are denied asylum and deported from the country. If an individual receives a work permit, a new fee will also be included.

The Trump administration though process behind the regulation is that work permits are encouraging asylum seekers to come to the U.S. While some may argue that’s probably true, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not also fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries.

There are also proposed changes to “improve the integrity” of credible fear determinations.

The new report also calls on Homeland Security to “improve the integrity” of credible fear determinations. When migrants first come to the U.S. border and apply for asylum, the first step is often the credible-fear interview. There, they must prove to an asylum officer that they have a credible fear of returning home or face persecution. If they then succeed, migrants can then apply to various types of relief that are available.

President Trump has often ridiculed the asylum system because of this factor, at times calling it a “loophole” that attracts immigrants to the U.S.

The memo is the Trump administration’s latest effort to make it more difficult for migrants to come and stay in the country. This all comes amid a huge spike in border crossings, including a large number of families seeking asylum. According to DHS statistics, in fiscal year 2018, 92,959 asylum claims were made at the southern border, up from 55,584 in the 2017 fiscal year.

Many immigrant advocates are coming down on the new proposed regulations that will only make it harder to those seeking asylum.

The new proposed regulations are designed with fair intentions to deter the flow of incoming migrants. The Trump administration is financially attacking a group of vulnerable people, knowing full well the majority won’t be able to afford a fee.

It’s fair to assume there will be a lawsuit over these proposals and any new immigration policy put forward. Which means these new fees won’t be put in anytime soon. But immigration advocates are angry at these proposed measures and the consequence they will have on those seeking help.

“The idea that we will charge asylum seekers a fee to seek refuge from persecution, torture, or death is offensive and counter to our values,” the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

Leonardo Arzuaga, 28, of Cuba, arrived in Mexico last month. He is one of many asylum seekers that would be affected by the new proposal as he is fleeing political persecution. Arzuaga is currently waiting until he can cross the U.S. border and claim asylum.

“I think it’s a bit unjust,” Arzuaga told the AP of the recent proposals. “Because many people do not have the means to arrive, work, produce. For me it’s something that isn’t logical. Because one practically gets here with nothing.”

READ: Government Officials Report That Reuniting Separated Families Will Take Two Years

#IceBae Has Blown Up The Internet. Meet The Latina Border Patrol Agent Behind The Viral Hashtag That Has Latino Twitter Freaking Out

Things That Matter

#IceBae Has Blown Up The Internet. Meet The Latina Border Patrol Agent Behind The Viral Hashtag That Has Latino Twitter Freaking Out

A Latina Border Patrol agent has gone viral as #IceBae and from the looks of her new account on Twitter she seems to be enjoying the new found fame.

The agent, who identified herself as Kiara Cervantes, was photographed providing security for Mike Pence during his visit to a migrant detention center in Texas. From that photograph came #IceBae with thirsty fans calling her out for her beauty. But it also attracted many people who were appalled that a Latina would participate in the mass imprisonment of largely Latino men, women, and children.

All this started when a Latina Border Patrol guard was photographed providing security for Mike Pence at a migrant detention center.

Credit: @theprovince / Twitter

So, who is the Latina officer in the photograph? The female officer has since been identified as Kiara Cervantes.  Many of the original comments were focused on her good looks, which kicked off the pretty bizarre hashtag #IceBae

Since the photo went viral, Kiara has started up her own Twitter account and has already racked up nearly 37.5k followers in less than 2 days.

It looks like Cervantes enjoyed the new found attention and decided to create a Twitter account to capitalize on all the fame. She posted a video (which has since been deleted) introducing herself as the #IceBae.

Apprently, Ice Bae has all sorts of ‘supporters’ that she had to thank on Twitter.

Credit: @kiarace24 / Twitter

Because of the response to the original photo and that #IceBae was trending on Twitter with thousands of thirsty comments, Cervantes decided to create a Twitter account. One of her first tweets was to thank everyone for all the ‘support’ and to tell her ‘supporters’ how much she loves them.

She’s also taken to Twitter to share some selfies of her in uniform with her new found supporters.

Credit: @kiarace24 / Twitter

Because when you work at a detention center that houses migrants in overcrowded cages and is at the center of an international scandal, of course selfies should be on your list of to-dos.

At least a few people on Twitter tried to help her out with some caption ideas for her new photo…

Credit: @kiarace24 / Twitter

I mean that is pretty clever if it wasn’t so depressing.

And this person who kept her caption suggestion poignant yet simple.

Credit: @kiarace24 / Twitter

What would you caption her photo with?

Seriously, the people are not here for it.

Credit: @rates_by_me / Twitter

Apart from all of #IceBae’s supporters, her detractors are definitely speaking out on social media. Many pointed out how by sexualizing Cervantes they were also sexualizing the dehumanization of the very people being held in the detention centers.

Rapper Fat Nick, called her out as ‘literal scum’, that her family would be ashamed of.

Credit: @_FatNick / Twitter

Cervantes fired back Sunday at rapper Fat Nick who tweeted that her family will disown her and “shame on any Hispanic working for ice of anything of that nature.”

“I think that’s really rude and naive of you to say,” she tweeted. “You have no idea who my parents are and no idea what goes into my job on a daily basis… before speaking on something you know nothing about…. DONT. Regardless I’m blessed and thankful for the career I have.”

Another Twitter user pointed out what pretty much most of the Latino community is thinking.

Credit: @hcapd / Twitter

One Twitter user, among thousands of others, called #IceBae what many are thinking: a guard at a concentration camp. For people to be idolizing a person who is supporting a system of injustice, racism, and bigotry, has many people across social media very upset, particularly those in the Latino community who feel #IceBae has turned her back on them.

READ: Sickening Screenshots Show Border Patrol Agents Laughing About Migrant Deaths

Dunkin’ Donuts Is Suing Franchise Owners In An Attack Against Undocumented Immigrants

Culture

Dunkin’ Donuts Is Suing Franchise Owners In An Attack Against Undocumented Immigrants

If you think the Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts game wasn’t already polarizing, America’s coffee choices just got politicized. Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC filed a complaint in a Delaware federal court on June 24, alleging two of its franchise owners have violated federal immigration law and their stores should be shut down. This complaint was against Thomas Sheehan and Kenneth Larson, who run nine stores in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. It isn’t the first time Dunkin’ sued its own franchise owners for this reason.

Dunkin’ sent termination letters to 14 stores in New Jersey and Virginia and then filed a suit against them in April.

According to Dunkin’, it was a customer complaint that sparked this wave of suits.

Credit: dunkin / Instagram

It then began a ten month review period which found hundreds of employee records with incomplete, unverified or falsified I-9 forms. Those I-9 forms are what authorize a person to legally work in the United States. The company also uses an electronic system called “E-Verify.”

Dunkin’ started using E-Verify in 2006, when only government agencies were using the system.

Credit: dunkin / Instagram

Two years later, the company began investing in lobbying efforts for immigration reform. It even hired an outside firm to lobby on immigration in 2017. It filed 100 similar lawsuits in 2006 and 2007 alone. The suits filed in the last couple of months are primarily citing its franchise owners for not using E-Verify.

One Delaware franchise owner has countersued Dunkin’.

Credit: @TheRucasJohnson / Twitter

They’re claiming they were given no opportunity to “correct the violations” and suspect Dunkin’ is just trying to resell their stores for greater profit. Kind of like when your landlord stops caring about keeping you around so that they can hike up the rent.

Labor lawyers are saying that patrolling immigration status has never been a targeted issue in franchises.

Credit: @MercurialMiss / Twitter

Dunkin’ is leading the way in pushing immigrant supporters from wanted to run on Dunkin’. Of course, folks are starting to #BoycottDunkin.

Those who support making life harder for undocumented folks are pledging allegiance to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Credit: @JamesonCal / Twitter

Some business analysts suspect Dunkin’ is simply making a play at reselling its franchises for profit by pushing owners out. Others imagine Dunkin’ is just trying to protect its own business by avoiding the potential for labor violation fines. Pesky customer complaints.

Last year, new CEO Dave Hoffman said hiring workers on work-study visas was “critical” for the company.

Credit: @dunkindonuts / Twitter

So the move could mean that it’s trying to show the federal government that it’s a lawful employer, in hopes that it would make receiving more legal work visas probable. That was said around the time that 7/11 avoided its own labor violation fines by assisting ICE with raiding nearly 100 stores. 7/11 stated that the franchises, not the company, were responsible for following labor laws.

Regardless, the move has acted as a dog whistle on Twitter.

Credit: @NookAppolloni / Twitter

Sorry, @NookAppolloni, the move would be destroying hundreds of lives in the Northeast 💯.  The lawsuit targets stores in that area so the wish for California is kind of uneducated. With the inhumane conditions in detention centers and the increased privatization of said centers, it’s likely the most dangerous time to be an undocumented worker in the United States. 

Hypocrisy looks like knowing that Trump’s businesses employ undocumented workers without fear of consequence.

Credit: @JeffFromNH / Twitter

Being undocumented is not a gift or cheating the system. It is a burden to be someone who is more financially and socially vulnerable. Living undocumented means that, while on a quest for a better life, you have to forfeit basic human rights and live in fear that your employer might do something like this.

So, to the Latinx couple that found a screw in their Dunkin’ bagel this week, take it as a metaphor for what they are doing to undocumented people.

Credit: @Chris27Garcia / Twitter

Whatever the business motive is, the move is complicit in the inhumane detention of immigrants. A Jewish Holocaust historian coined the term, “the banality of evil,” which insinuates that evil doesn’t exist in a single mind alone. In order for it to be carried out, it must become pedestrian, seeped into a fabric of society until it is accepted.

READ: New Report Shows ICE Using DMV Data To Track People As Undocumented People Get Drivers Licenses

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